The Man and The Pigeons

Here’s the thing, ever since I wanted to commit to doing a blog about photography, I had one main objective; to share everything, the good, the bad, and the cringy. You see, I didn’t think I would struggle writing about cool and successful anecdotes, which of course I will post later on, but for this particular occasion, I wanted to exorcise the sorrow I have for having these amazing candids in my repertoire, that nearly never came to fruition. And I’m not talking about the kind of mistakes that you toss aside and maybe, discreetly make a mental note to ‘fix that later in the post,’ such as having all the clothing wrinkle up randomly, inject the worst-case scenario here. I’m talking about being clueless and careless to the point of falling into beginner’s territory. Yeah. Warning, I’m NOT just a guy with a camera. 

These shots are from an editorial I did a couple of years ago on a quick visit to Los Angeles, they are unedited and have no heavy post-process apart from some general adjustments to balance exposure, some tweaking here and there, and that’s it. Quite frankly, that’s a very unusual approach for me and to be honest, I’ve forgotten how good it felt. For instance, guys don’t require as much makeup or styling like girls do – oh but don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining, I love working with a gang full of creative people, I just think that working with a male model taps into a different creative energy, it is more free-spirited. I compare it to the early days, in any photographer’s life, when you just took a camera and started clicking everything around you; you have that feeling of wonder and excitement above all. This whole film made me feel very much like that, I believe as long as you’re doing the best with what you have, you’ll be just fine, but I digress.

I did a couple more shootings in LA with other talented people, like model Angel Lee, who encouraged me to drop Anthony a line (Thank you, girl!). Fortunately, he was on board with the idea and we both managed to make time to shoot around downtown.

They call it ‘Sunny California’ because of its bright scenery almost every day, but apparently, LA had just enough of hot & heavy for the time being and gave us a chill cloudy day instead; a rare trade that I appreciated a lot. The soft light cast upon the city made it kinda melancholic and luckily for me, it put me in my best mood. Anthony and I chatted a little between takes, we went for a quick coffee break at some point and shared some more stories and thoughts about the industry, we then finished our break and got back to work. I must say Anthony’s a committed model; he’s the kind of performer that will take your idea and suggest going a bit further so we had no trouble getting into some interesting locations like going incognito at the KFC or running through pigeons by the Mexican market. Looking back at the whole film it still gives me all the feels and that my friend is the reason why it is such a bummer I didn’t get to fully edit them in the end. 

Going back home and realizing I lost all my raw files in the process was a devastating disappointment. No kidding! It not only takes discipline to acknowledge and learn from mistakes, but that feeling of embarrassment tends to linger. This experience taught me to thoroughly revise how I handle external drives and memory cards so that in the future I won’t be left out with low-res previews only.
That is why I didn’t want this story to go untold, to be hidden and unpublished. I love these candids, they capture what I saw and felt on that gray day downtown, in Los Angeles. They remind me how cool it was to, yet again, work with a talented model in a cool location, the hesitance of the old lady running the magazine stand, the lecture on modern architecture, his ever-present desire to run at the pigeons, the encounter with another production in a bakery shop, and just how easy it is to access back alleys.

What is the takeaway from all of this? Know better. Be prepared! As much as doing what you can at the moment is a big deal, there’s always a chance that something will not go as planned, so prepare yourself and embrace the idea that you can always reinforce what you know. Take the chance to better your craft, learn about your capabilities, to grow as an artist, and if I could add something to this never-ending lesson of not underestimating yourself and your surroundings; it would be to enjoy it, and let yourself move at your own pace. I can’t stress this enough, sometimes the truth is simple as that. I have recently learned that not everything you create will be a success and that no matter what your art form is, it will find its way to the world, just like this editorial did.

Oh and before I go, here’s an article here at worth checking out just because I might not be eloquent enough to list all my advice, besides I find it very relaxing to read about basics, to have the whole perspective of how much you’ve progressed since the very beginning. I might write about that later but for now, I’ll make myself busy and make another tea. 

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