I work as a bioengineer, play bebop jazz on sax, write novels, poetry, political commentary, paint abstract art, and am an avid street photographer. My work has been featured at the Minneapolis Photo Center.
When I step into the street with my camera, I become a fish with its sensors all pumped up. The street is my river. As the river throws leaves, twigs, splashes, water crests, fierce currents at a swimmer, the street discharges a torrent of bits of life at me. Which bits of life do I choose to capture with my camera is up to me.
There exist all kinds of “streets.” To me, anything that is out of your comfort zone is a “street,” in contrast to a “home.” It is more than a physical state. It’s primarily a mental state.
The street photographer intentionally makes him/herself uncomfortable by making a conscious decision to enter a “street.” There he hones his "survival" skills: to tame the strange, the chaotic, the rambunctious into something intimate, orderly, submissive – a static image of the vanishing bit of life that passes in front of him.
We’re fond of saying the child, the animal has his own mind when they don’t respond to our commands, our wishes, our desires. And so does the street. It will not obey our order for it to stop, to rewind, to give forewarnings. It will not conform to our a priori sense of what order is. It just throws bits of life at you like a tornado. The keener the street photographer gets to “read” the mind of the street, the better chance his images come out alive. As the cliché goes, we need to “become one” with the mind of street.