I appreciate the love from all so I'm going to do what ColDayMan's gotta do: keep it 100% in this motherfucker. I've been around on this forum for damn near 12 years and have seen some amazing talent and/or great eyes. From the beginning of this bitch with those (back then, amazing) Corbis images and scanned-in photos from a 35mm Kodak camera to the digital evolution, SSP has come a long, long way. I really do wish we kept some of our great early photographers like Serge but times change. So let's get on with this bullshit...
What are you shooting with and what would you like to shoot with?
Shit, let me check my camera bag and see.
One of those Canon Digital Rebel XT's with a separate cheap-ass zoom lens. I never was into the whole "equipment" and "get as many lenses as you can + filters!" schtick. That ain't my style, yaoming? It ain't that serious, forreal. What I feel is that it comes down to your eye and/or subject matter. Some of the greatest photos are taken with a cheap-ass camera, maybe a little tilt, and underprocessed. It gives that image a bit of vagueness and opens the imagination. DToronto had this old website where he showed American ghettos that had HORRENDOUS quality photos yet it was much more fascinating than most threads in City Photos today. Why? Subject matter. It gave you that feeling of "damn, that place looks rough and I feel like I'm sitting next to Ray Ray!" Now I'm not gonna say that I prefer ALL raw/untilted photos because most of that shit looks cheap and lazy but if done right, I dig it. But I'm not the type to go out and get a new lens and/or camera if I don't have to. I'm comfortable with what I take. Could I improve? Sure. Could a new lens, camera, or filter help that? Sure. But that shit costs $$$! And like the incomparable Gangsta Boo once said: "N!gga, where them dollaz at?" Not here! I can make a photo work with a disposable Kodak I bought at the Rite Aid next to the JJ's Fish & Chicken. ColDay will be aiight.
What would I like to shoot with? I'd LIKE one of those newish Nikon cameras. Don't get me wrong, I loves me some Canons but ain't nuthin' wrong with switching up the style every-so-often.
If you could sum up your style in one photograph what photo would it be?
I couldn't possibly do that. What I will say is that I prefer to photograph cities. Not people, not food, not beer, not a neon bowling alley, not a white guy with an Urban Outfitters hat crossing a busy Manhattan street, not some Asian lady drycleaning her dress outside in Beijing, but fucking cities. A city's architecture, parks, streetscapes, disparities, and natural scenery show you what the city is about. Anybody can go to a mall, zoom in on Shaquon and Derrick eating a Chick-Fil-A sandwich and call it a "people shot" but what does that mall itself have to offer aside from J. Jill? Do you feel like it's an interesting subject matter? Does Shaquon excite you? For me, no. Fuck that bitch and her punk ass man too. A city showcases what is unique (or not unique) to the area and in turn, unique to your camera. A shot of some Bed-Stuy brownstones followed by a Russian Orthodox church in Sunset Park tell you two different stories. A streetwall of Paris makes you feel like it is an important, beautiful, worthy city to photograph. A neon cowboy sign in downtown Las Vegas tells you the whimsical yet powerful history of such a controversial city on this forum. A courthouse in Vandalia, Illinois or a Ha-Ha Wall outside of London both give you a taste of what it's like to be there. In Vandalia or London. Not that mall food court.
Being black has an advantage in that I can go to areas for which I wouldn't have as much of a fear to take photos of if I were of some other race. Typically in the United States, these areas have the best architecture in the city so to use my "black card" to get the real, how can I not take advantage of that?
That's my style and what I like to photograph.
Talk about your inspirations and influences.
Four people on this forum truly inspired me: Dylan Leblanc, Kilgore Trout, mrherodotus, and Randy Sandford.
Dylan for obvious reasons. No Dylan, no ColDayMan, no city photography. That simple.
Kilgore Trout (or just DeWolf, to me) created Cafe Urbanite, a site that perhaps had the single biggest influence on ANY of these architecture forums. Before, it was WTB, Nalyd's, etc...strictly skyscrapers and their construction. DeWolf brought the concept of urbanity to forums with photo essays, transit, and city/architecture/density critiques, and basically said "to hell with skyscrapers!" Amazing how one site could transform a site called SKYSCRAPERPAGE to "URBANISTS REALLY, SKYSCRAPERS SECONDARY!" EVERY photographer on here CANNOT say either Dylan or DeWolf didn't influence their style.
But if DeWolf brought urbanity to the forefront, it was mrherodotus that documented it in the form of "city touring." I mean, who knew about "rowhouses in Pittsburgh" or "Second Empire architecture in Richmond, Virginia" without him? Who even CARED before him? Nobody on this forum did. Sure, there were urban elitists but they didn't even bother to take photos of the streetscapes. mrherodotus gave us that visual meaning of "dense cities." This forum went from Trango Towers in Denver and Charlotte vs. Atlanta skyline threads to "show me your cities bones!" And ever since he came on the scene, I went from scanning in photos OF Carew Tower to taking photos FROM Carew Tower.
Lastly, Randy Sandford inspired me with his encouragement. I forget when it was (mid-2000's) but I created a thread about some city and he said something I would NEVER forget (paraphrasing): "ColDay, you even make bad cities look good to the point that I'd want to go there." That little nugget inspired me GREATLY to the point of going to the smallest of cities to showcase "the bones" of old theaters, forgotten neighborhoods, and rarely-seen skyline shots. I regret never meeting Randy but he was TRULY an inspirational person.
Now I wouldn't say I'm inspired by these motherfvckers but I will say they force me to stay in the photography game because they make me look lazy: Segun, Paradox21, Flash, giallo, volguus zildrohar, giovanni sasso, theodore, Serge, Daniel8ty8, KCGridlock, I am Hydrogen, Lsyd, HomeInMyShoes, MayDay, John R, WesternGulf, Ex-Ithacan, JivecitySTL, Hayward, Nightsky, Chef, R@ptor, and a whole host of others including (what my old-school ass would consider) the newbies like Thundertubs, Kingofthehill, Bedhead, stepper77, flar, sabotai, Minato Ku, Centropolis, hkskyline, photolitherland, Sekkle, etc.
Where have you not been that you want to photograph?
There are tons of places I would love to photograph but high on my list would be Sub-Saharan Africa, Istanbul, and South America. Particularly Brazil.
Talk about your most popular (in your opinion) photothreads.
My most popular photo thread series I'd say was all of 2007. I showcased New York, Los Angeles, London, Chicago, Paris, hell, Earth that year. I even had a thread titled Earth that, I believe, was well-received. I don't think I'll have a year quite like that again but who knows. Earlier in my photography, my neighborhoods tours of Cincinnati and Columbus from 2004-2006 were quite popular as well. But really, the secret to make your thread popular here (as of 2011) is put the words New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, or Pittsburgh and *BAM*, 2 pages at least! Not even London, Hong Kong, or Paris is getting that play! I'm awaiting the resurgence of Charlotte...
Talk about your photothreads that didn't get the response you wanted.
Any of my recent Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, or Indianapolis tours. Doing hometown area tours is more personal than going to San Diego and taking colorful shots of a place I'm likely not going to ever live or feel a connection to. People like to expose areas of their city (in my case, region) to others. Not seeing the amount of people viewing any of those Southern Ohio threads and/or responding versus other threads which I thought were complete trash kinda gets to me a little (whether it be image of the place, people not caring about the subject matter, "latest trend" photographers, etc). But whatever, I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing.
Any tips or personal wisdom you'd like to pass on to others?
Fuck what people say, photograph what you feel reflects you. Nobody can create a style for you but you. Craft that style and keep it movin'!
Who should we ask these questions of next?
Normally, I would say somebody like Paradox21, volguus zildrohar, mrherodotus, Serge and Theodore (both who've left the forum), Xing, etc but I know enough about those motherfuckers to not care what they say. Plus, Paradox21 won't even see this post within a year...which is a shame because he's one of the greatest photographers in forum history. So, I'm going to say somebody who I see as highly underrated on this forum with composition, color, quality, subject matter, courage, and a damn good eye: -AX-