The Goatman of South Austin

Sometimes you just have to enjoy whatever life throws at you. I was working on a piece for Zachary Scott Theater's season brochure a couple of years ago. The show that drove the season was David Steakley's, Keeping Austin Weird. It was celebration of the diversity and eccentricity that is represented is a town like Austin. A very "blue" city in a very "red" state.

My assignment was to go out into the community and photograph some of the characters and stories represented in the play. The gentleman above had this goat that he dearly loved. The goat was a pet, not livestock. Some of his neighbors and a few city officials wanted the goat gone from the very residential neighborhood. Happy ending for some: The goat stayed.

I buzzed by and shot the man and his goat with an on Kodak DCS 760 camera and 50mm lens. I can't speak for you but it's one of those images that's really stuck for me. I love the green paint, the American flag, the outdoor fan, and.....of course, the goat.

Just another thing that makes Austin special.


Bold Photography said...

That goat is awesome...

Austin IS a unique city, and photos like this really capture that feeling.

Anonymous said...

I never thought of Tuck as a photojournalist but this image is really wonderfully in the moment. A far different photo than any I've seen of his yet still strangely in his style.

Anonymous said...

I mostly agree with the car analogy. I've been thinking about how cameras and photography are really separate issues just lately.

A lot of internet writing resorts to the "good photography trumps your measurebation" argument. This, I think, is wrong. Well maybe not wrong so much as irrelevant.

The issue isn't whether good art is the ultimate measurement of a camera, the issue is that cameras and photography are different topics.

That's why I like the car analogy. Not only are the cars we use these days pretty much the same in function (as you point out), cars aren't measured by their performance on the track. We don't look to extreme performance to justify our car purchases (mostly).

The other part of the analogy that I like that might not be obvious is that the issue isn't that you need a artistic reason to want a camera, the issue is that you just think it's cool and so you got one. It feels good to use a camera that you connect to for some design reason. I have a Nikon FG that I love because it forces me to use manual control and it is the smallest Nikon SLR F body ever. Is it a great camera? I guess, it still takes great shots with Nikkor glass, but I don't care. I just think it's cool to shoot with a piece of design history.

Like a car collector driving a 64 vette. Will it beat a modern vette or Porshe. No. But it's still cool.

Car collectors don't have an identity crisis or fit of anxiety because they went off and wasted money on another car. They wanted it, had the cash and bought it. Who said you were only allowed to own just one?

They might regret the purchase, but unlike us photographers they don't spend months trying to justify the acquisition.

They also understand that they can only drive one car at a time. This is my big hang up with my camera collection. Which one to take.

Where I think the analogy breaks down is with lenses. I find that there are very subtle sub-conscious cues that lenses impart to an image. When I look at my own emotional reaction to photographs, I notice that lenses have a far greater impact than the camera.

I also still see a big difference with medium format vs. digital pictures. My favorite shots just lately have come off an RB67 with a 90mmKL.

Digital printing of MF negatives, to me, seems to be the greatest break-through in photography. Not the digital camera.

My new motto is:
Enjoy your cameras. Improve your shots.


Kirk Tuck, Photographer/Writer said...

Bob, you got it exactly. Nice response.