Shanghai 100

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Many years ago I interviewed the Finnish artist/metalsmith Heikki Seppa. For reasons lost to me now, I asked him to theorize what the world’s great artists would talk about if they were in a room together. Seppa replied, “They wouldn’t talk about art with a capital A. They would talk about the cheapest place to buy paint.”

This photograph reminds me of his comment because I have found photographers to be much more sharing and much less assholes compared to the only other artists with whom I have had significant interaction.  Here is where I connect the dots. I remember a photographer saying that you should always leave a shot or two at the end of a roll of fim,  or in today’s parlance, some space on your chip. The day when I took this shot, I had completed what I set out to shoot, but I left one 4x5 holder unexposed, “just in case.”

As I trudged home, I look over and saw the sun setting over this salvage yard. Fortunately, I still had two shots I could take. Regardless of its artistic merit, at least I had the opportunity to capture it.

When the Wheel Comes Off


Several years ago, when my oldest son was showing an interest in his old man's interest in photography, we were in the habit of crawling under fences, climbing gates, ignoring cautionary signs, and otherwise engaging in trespassing. He was all about color and digital and I was all about black and white and toy cameras. Yet, we were often drawn to the same subject matter. Sometimes, we even tried to out maneuver each other, as if jostling for the best angle at a press conference. We talked about shooting together and ultimately creating a book that we would call "Trespassing." Each spread would feature our individual photographs of the same subject.

Then the little bastard up and moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.

My son was the first person I really went shooting with. Previously, my approach to photography was the same as my approach to writing and masturbation: it's something best done alone. In the past year, I have enjoyed the pleasure of shooting, if not side-by-side then nearby, with a fellow photographer and artist, Jeff Sass. No masturbation has been involved

Mostly though, I still shoot alone. I found a place nearby that technically is private property, but I explore the property anyway because, hey, I don't see any no trespassing signs. I like trespassing. It gives the experience a heightened feel. Acquaintances who do Urb Ex get a similar rush. But I'm too big a pussy to go in those places alone. The open field where I took "Destination" is just fine by me.