Simple photographs that show everyday things, stopped at traffic light next to a couple on a motor cycle. I don’t know who they are, or what is their relationship to each other. Maybe this is the only time the two of them rode on this cycle together, maybe its the only photograph of them together (but now they are together forever), maybe they were lovers since parted or have been married now for over forty years. Perhaps she died of cancer or he was killed in a an automobile accident. Whatever, at this moment they are simply looking at something, probably the same thing, and sharing this moment together.
Or two girls in a day care center circa 1968. Both girls are involved in my life for a few minutes, we never see each other again, they have changed but for me they are still the same. And its a simple image also, their faces seem to me to contrast different feelings maybe nor more than about who I am to them at the moment.
Here is a couple I met in Toledo Ohio circa late 1960s, from a set of photographs I took for Model Cities. I guess its ok to show this image publicly now, its forty years passed, hopefully their lives improved. Everything they owned was in their old car outside, no money, no job, no place to stay and they were asking for help. (Excuse the roughness of the image, the only copy I have is an old print made on some kind of textured paper which made the scanned image out of focus and gave it a texture even though I have cleaned it up some. I still like the image.) When I see it I remember thinking here they are sitting in at the desk of a person who’s job it is, i.e. who is being paid for this time, will decide if they can get some financial help, and then I remember I am being paid to take these photographs.
One more, this is the only couple I knew personally in this set. We shared the first floor of a house in the Old West End of Toledo, in one the old large houses. There were big fluted wood columns in the living room and one part of it I often used as a studio of some sort, with a tie-dyed backdrop.
These four images, each of two people have an order. In the first the couple does not know they are being photographed. In the second they know it and I have posed them, but they are too young to really understand it. In the third they know I am taking the photograph ,they have given permission, but still, clearly the purpose of this photograph is not to record a meaningful moment in their life, and they know that too. In the fourth image model and photographer are spontaneously interacting together to create the image.
Sometimes its not what’s in the photograph that is important but our feelings about the image that can tell us something about ourselves. In that way looking at photographs, and even more so, taking photographs, is very selfish—me keeping these images around to better know myself or to feel good, at the expense of someone else. I am grateful these people gave me this opportunity.