Published by MJR on January 15th, 2009 in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

I woke up one morning and decided to go shoot. I normally go around 6 am and roll around Los Angeles until about noon or until I get hungry and or run out of film. This day i was kind of lazy and didn’t get out of bed until 10 which meant i wasn’t shooting till 11 or so. This particular day about two weeks ago I was overly anxious to get some images so I went to Downtown which is always a good place for me because its always different. After paying 3 dollars to park and walking around for an hour i got nothing, but and was losing my steam. Im not the kind of photographer who goes and shoots whatever whenever, i need to feel it. I wasn’t feeling it….so I went to get some fish tacos at a place i have never tried before they had a bunch of fresh looking seafood of all types and the first thing on the menu was the fish taco. The line was pretty packed so i figured it must be good. I was wrong and ended up throwing away 75 percent of my meal. The brown colored fish in my particular tacos was rotten/rotting/not completely scaled.

*side note, while waiting in line for my lunch i witnessed a woman buy 2 whole lobsters with food stamps. I still dont quite know what to make of that. Ironic I guess.

people liked their tacos and seafood soup and civeche, but i couldn’t stomach it. I went to the nearby liquor store and bought my xxx vitamin water.

I was wearing the wrong type of pants and it was getting kinda warm so i was uncomfortable. On top of that my lunch sucked and I still wasn’t “feeling it”. I went back to my car and was getting ready to start it when i saw a really filthy person trying to light a cigarette in a corner. By filthy I mean unwashed and completely grubby. I noticed he had these bright blue eyes that were in such contrast to the rest of him.

I approached him and asked if i could photograph him. He had no qualms and didn’t ask for anything. So i began to shoot and talk at the same time. I used a general ice breaker that you would use when first meeting anyone, anywhere.

ME: “Whats your name?”

HIM: “Scott.”

ME: “Where you from, Scott?”

HIM: “I don’t know”

he really sounded genuine with that particular response and at that point i just ended our conversation, but kept shooting. I wasn’t trying to find out anything about him in particular. I didn’t especially care about his story however heroic or tragic it may be. I wasn’t concerned how he got to be so damn dirty. I didn’t approach him to photograph him because of what i thought his plight may be.

I approached him because he was dirty.

If he were a perfect model dressed to the 9′s and 10′s i would have done the same thing. He was a spectacle, and i reacted to that. I don’t think that these images are all that great and yes many people can make them. But what these images do convey is an honesty that many people do not have in their work. There is a very temporary feeling that i get when i view them. It is because i was not trying to capture any “essence” of Scott or a life summoning frame of him. I didn’t feel sorry for him or excited for him because i did not know anything about him. I didn’t continue our conversation after “I don’t know” because I ultimately felt that it was going nowhere fast, I wasn’t looking for a friend, I was looking for a subject. Just as i was going to stop shooting for the day, I found a subject named Scott who didn’t know where he was from, and thats all we needed to establish. In this instance, the images I made of Scott weren’t produced for people to judge the person in them. The were produced and posted here to convey what it feels like to have the transitory relationships with people as I often do. Weird…brief…fleeting…raw…random…honest.

if you want, look at the most recent weekly collection for another example of what i’m trying to explain.

I made about 15 frames of Scott and then we both went back to our daily grind. But by that point I had a stomach ache…from the tacos.


6 Responses to “Scott”

  1. Marcus Says:

    January 15th, 2009 at 4:43 am

    I found that really interesting, thanks for posting it.

  2. matt Says:

    January 15th, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    “i took the photo because i picked up my camera” – quote from APE the other day.. these images are full of truth.. simple straight forward images.. no bullshit.

    keeping it real.

    i appreciated the commentary, but wasn’t surprised by what you said. hopefully some people found your words inspiring and thought provoking. there aint much you could do short of eating a bad fish taco that would surprise me.

  3. Andrew Says:

    January 15th, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    Phenomenal essay.

  4. Suzan Says:

    January 16th, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    I always love the way you write, Julius. “Keeping it real” – it really feels like that.
    Still wondering why he was so filthy though.

  5. hili Says:

    March 15th, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    i’m not criticising, just pointing out, that there’s something very brutal about the description. what you think of as honesty doesn’t sound neutral to me. and i can identify. many times i dont see the people i shoot. but i think it’s sad, not honest.