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The People of Charleston

29 11 2012

Those of you who have been playing along for a while will know this is an unusual post for me. In my photos I try to characterize and present something you’ve seen in a way you’ve never looked at it in before. That’s why those of you who know my style and my purpose will be surprised to see a post full of faces.

I was walking throughout the streets taking in everything. The buildings, the colors, the emotions of the city. I could sense the rich culture and beauty of a place who knew it held a special place in history. The entire city radiated purpose and contentment. I realized quickly that this came from more than architecture and craft, this came straight from the people of Charleston, so I began photographing them. 

 

Have you ever been walking around with your camera only to me by dozens of people asking you to take their picture for no apparent reason? You start out, “I don’t work for the newspaper,” they don’t care. “I’m actually just here on vacation.” They still don’t care. “Listen, I’m just out taking pictures for fun.” “Perfect, this is my best side.” *smiles* There was a point in my career that this seemed an inconvenience. Maybe I was just there to get a shot of the quarterback throwing a long pass. I was just looking for a building with ivy growing up the side. This little human interaction somehow seemed like an inconvenience. Thankfully, I grew past that. There is nothing more rewarding than being appreciated and being valued. When someone asks you to take a picture of them for no apparent reason, it’s because they have placed value on you taking a picture of them. It means something, it’s an opportunity you should never take for granted. These folks were just chilling out, probably on a lunch break. One of them hollered, “Hey, check out this picture right here” then smiled broadly. It’s an off the cuff snap shot that captures a bit of the city, and I loved it.

Sometimes you don’t get asked, you just have to go for it. Most people, especially people who’ve worked hard on something like this car, love having a picture taken of them. Now you’re telling someone else you value them, you value something they’ve created, or who they are. Everyone likes feeling famous now and then.

This shot took all day. I asked every basket weaver I saw if I could take a picture. Most of them seemed to be in witness protection or hiding from the law because they said no. This lady here said sure. I think this shot really captures a bit of who Charleston is. Artisans. Crafts people. Creative folks doing what they know how to do to make a living.

This may be my favorite picture from the set. These guys were just chilling on the dock doing their thing. I asked if I could take a picture and all three of them lit up and enthusiastically said yes. By the time I had the camera up to my eye, they were suppressing grins and playing it cool for all of you fine folks at home.

This shot is just a little reminder that no matter where you go in America, or the world really, you’re gonna get a variety. Everything from hand made clothes to a pair of blue kicks and bright yellow polo shirts. I love this town.

This is the last of the Charleston photos. I’ll be back when I have something new. You guys are wonderful, thanks for coming back and reading me even though I’m scattered. Have a great day, God Bless. -Arley

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Art in Construction

22 05 2012

I’ve always found construction beautiful. Not only because my father is in the building materials industry and it kept the lights on, but also because it is fascinating to see the way things come together under the surface. Yesterday I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a construction crew working on a new concessions stand for the football field beside portable row. My most striking observation of the afternoon was simply that for something new to be built, something old had to be torn down.

Breaking Down the Old Stand

I felt like I was getting back to my roots doing such editorial styled work. (I started out in photography taking pictures for a local web based news paper.) What I really like about this image is the variety of color. I liked the way the grey of the old building is contrasted by the red saw horse, the blue trash can, the yellow backhoe and the green trees. The image only appealed more after I took a second look at it on my computer.

Tools of the Trade

I knew as soon as I saw this saw I wanted to get close and low. If you know what you’re looking at, the outlines of the grey portables in the background are distinguishable. I really like the variety of background colors between the teeth of the saw. The rust adds a little character to the blade. Modern can be beautiful but it just doesn’t speak to you the same way age does. I focused on the uppermost part of the blade to draw your eyes up to the brightest part of the image. This shot is almost therapeutic for me, it’s a relaxing picture to let your eyes wander over.

The King of Construction

This dapper fellow reluctantly gave me a smile. He was introduced to me only as the king of construction. This is a fairly straightforward snapshot. A picture like this leans more heavily on the subject and their level of mystique than it does on composition or any other typical photography rules. My only advice for capturing this sort of shot is be ready, and be friendly. Street pictures of people are tricky, not just because you have to have timing and an interesting subject, but also because you have to be careful not to make anyone angry. If you’re a photographer in America, you legally have the right to take a picture of almost anyone or anything in a public place, but that doesn’t stop a big burly guy from taking a swing at you (and your camera.) I’ve found though that nearly every questioning glare, is easily diffused with a smile. 🙂

Thats it for today, I have laundry to finish and lots of blogs to catch up with. I hope you enjoyed todays entry and I would love to hear your feedback in the comments section below. First time visitor? Don’t forget to follow the blog to keep up with new posts via email notification. Social links for Facebook and Twitter are up there somewhere. If you want to help me out, tell your friends about the blog. Stumble, tweet, press me, the whole nine yards. The more the merrier. 🙂

Thanks for visiting and God Bless!