More images from Sunday's walk through SXSW...

There's something refreshing about being out in public, walking with a camera and only the vaguest agenda. If the population is dense enough you could just stand in one place, keep turning around and around and keep your finger on the shutter button of your camera. 

Something came to mind yesterday when one of my acquaintances asked me if it was "scary" to photograph "strangers" on the street. He then asked me if I got threatened or harassed. It made me remember something about my mom. 

We lived in Turkey for two years. A city called Adana. It's in the southeast of the country. My mom was always fascinated by different cultures, learned to speaking passing good Turkish and was more or less fearless. One day she heard about a very large encampment of "gypsies" who were about 10 miles from the edge of town. She wanted to go and see them and, oddly enough, take photographs of them. I say, "oddly enough" because my mother never showed much interest in taking photographs of anything other than family back then. She also was armed only with an older Argus A-3 camera. 

She hired a taxi cab in front of the America consulate, which was across a grassy field from our five story apartment building, and with her Turkish cab driver headed out to find the gypsy encampment. When they found it she asked the driver to wait for her and headed off to find one of the elders in order to make an introduction and ask permission to photograph. 

She found a group of older men who assured her that for a small contribution she would have their blessing to make pictures. She spent a half hour or so meeting people and photographing them and when she was ready to leave she found that the contribution she'd made to the elders had no bearing on the rest of the people she had been photographing. They all wanted to be paid. My mother had brought along some cash but not nearly enough to pay modeling fees to dozens and dozens of now aggressive people. 

She and the taxi driver made a hasty retreat to the cab. The driver asked her to give him all of her change. All of the coins she had with her. He added some of this coins to the collection and then strategically tossed the money out the window of the car in such a way as the path cleared out ahead. He jammed the car into gear and they effected a hasty retreat.

Years later I looked at the snapshots again as I was going through my late parent's house in San Antonio making it ready for sale. The photographs were not technically very good but my mother had one advantage over more technically proficient photographers. She was able to get close to her subjects. And she was able to develop an almost instant rapport. Even with gypsies armed and ready to press their advantage. 

To my mind my mother's intention was to just be there. The camera was an excuse; a reason to make the trip. An aside from the pleasure of being immersed in something different. 

When we returned to the USA she continued to photograph only sporadically. Birthdays, holidays, family trips and that sort of thing. I never thought consciously about this before but I wonder if my mother's interest in cultures different from hers was some sort of bread crumb trail for my own interests. Strange to dredge this up after so many decades have passed...

But here are a few more images from yesterday. Not clouds....

At SXSW companies are anxious to give their stuff away for free.
Sadly, it's mostly stuff you probably don't want. Like energy drinks filled with 
caffeine and sugar. Or phone screen cleaning clothes.

I had to take this because everyone in the photo looks, dour, pissed off or too serious by far.

See? No clouds...

Impromptu album cover shots everywhere.
I focused on the photographer, not the model.
She seemed more important....

"Wolverines ripped my trousers..."

Even the mannequins are decked out for SXSW.
Bokeh city...

My tip of the day. Never pass up red stuff. Especially deep red stuff.

so. I guess the point of the story about my mom is that we should, as photographers, try to be a bit more fearless than we might normally be. In most urban areas the worst thing that might happen (almost never) is that someone will try to forcefully try to steal your camera. Relax, the cameras are all insured. right?

But my mom's story from 1965 is still "archival positioned in the minds of her three children." 


I went downtown to photograph more stuff at SXSW yesterday but I ended up liking these clouds more....


One focused on infinity...

One focused on the edge of the building...

If you go out with the idea of shooting something very specific in mind you can sometimes limit yourself by constraining the intention of your outing too tightly. I went out looking for unusual people and scenes at SXSW (big music, film, tech conference. 10 days straight. right here in the middle of Austin) and the very last images of the day were a mile away and up in the air.

Yesterday's camera and lens of choice were the Panasonic S5 (original) and the Sigma 85mm art lens (DN DG). A very nice combination. 

Contrary to Saturday's mission all of the Sunday images were shot as Jpegs. I actually like the look better. 

I posted some questions for Mike over on theonlinephotographer blog site. The consensus is that I do not suffer from "low energy." But I really didn't get any of my pressing questions answered. Oh well. At least some of the readers seemed to really appreciate them.

Daylight savings time messed with my timing yesterday. Not much...but enough. 

Need a really, really great and cheap entry into the L system? The S5 is a wonderful and very capable camera. I recommend it highly. Sure, the new one focuses video faster. So what?