Showing posts with label street photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label street photography. Show all posts

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Just Like Life


Sleeping Buddha, Hilo, Hawaii. by Steven Boone

Recently I was publicly accused of disrespect by someone I do not know. It happened when I posted a photo online in a Facebook camera group I am a member of.  The photo was one of the street photos I love to make. I have thousands from all over the world spanning decades.  When I first read the comment, I did not understand it. “This is no respect.” I assumed the person that posted could not speak good English. I thought he referred to the person I photographed who was unkempt. Then, later I realized he was referring to me. Several other comments were negative. Others positive.

Hurt, Oaxaca, Mexico, by Steven Boone
(This is the photo that caused the controversy.)

Here is the story:  Several days a week Amy and I go from our home in a village outside Oaxaca, Mexico into the city to shop for necessities. We were walking in Oaxaca Centro. I always take my camera to be ready if I want to take a picture. I know how to look and see amidst the crowded, sometimes broken streets full of traffic. Among the shamble of shops and pedestrians a swirling kaleidoscope of variations occur and usually I take a picture or two worth saving. This day, as we walked carefully over a crumbling sidewalk, I saw ahead an impoverished young man with severe problems. Without shoes, dressed in rags with one foot bandaged, the other exposed leg had many sores. Slumped against a wall, on the steps of a financial institution, he was sleeping. I paused and took the picture. Scenes such as this are part of the fabric of life. We all need to be aware of how others live and suffer. And, yes, it is difficult to see.

After taking the photo, I took change from my pocket and rested it on a ledge by his arm. Then Amy gently put banknotes in his hand. We walked away. I looked back as we crossed the intersection. He was smiling and staring after us.

Canada,  -Vivien Maier, (American, February 1, 1926 – April 21, 2009)

In the annals of photography there are great examples of fleeting candid moments where the subject is unaware of being photographed. It is when maximum honesty exists.

It is legal to take photos in public places that include people. No permission required. Candid photography to me is almost always better than posed. But it is more tricky to get a good result. There is no set upit is all spontaneous. 

Trolley, -Robert Frank, (Swiss, November 9, 1924 – September 9, 2019)

It begins and ends in a fraction of a second, and happens millions of times a day on earth. That is photography. No use to try and kill it with rules. It does not belong in a box and will always escape confines. Just like life.

Ireland, Josef Koudelka (Czech-French, b. 1938)
Sophia Loren and Jane Mansfield, by Joe Shire, (American 1917-2006)

The Terror of War, Nick Ut, (Vietnamese-American, born 1951)

After the Opera, Weegee, (American, June 12, 1899 – December 26, 1968)

Famous street photographer Quotes:

“I have no inhibitions and neither does my camera…,” “To me a photograph is a page from life, and that being the case, it must be real.”  -Weegee

“Photography can be a mirror and reflect life as it is, but I also think it is possible to walk, like Alice, through a looking glass and find another kind of world with the camera.”  -Tony ray jones

“Most of my photos are grounded in people, I look for the unguarded moment, the essential soul peeking out, experience etched on a person’s face.” -Steve McCurry

Sunday, April 01, 2018

With Fresh Eyes

Often it happens that after I have spent hours in an art museum, when I come out onto the street, I see life differently—as if everything before my eyes is a painting. This effect lasts intensely for a few minutes and then wears off. But for those first moments, I am in an entrancing altered consciousness and seeing with new eyes.

(The above two images are an example. The image on the right is by famed French expressionist Jean Dubuffet. His work is in museums around the globe. The image to the left is a photo I took on a street in Granada, Spain.)

Viewing abstract non-objective art is so abstrusely personal it can seem to be anything in ones mind’s eye. Later, with an opened imagination out on the street, cracks in the pavement or ripped posters or the blur of traffic becomes art; because that is the way we have been thinking and experiencing visually. It has happened to me many times.

The image on the left below is torn poster paper I spotted on a street in Amsterdam, Holland. The image on the right is a large painting by the famous American abstract expressionist painter, Franz Kline.

Sometimes photography and art are closely related. A giant of twentieth century photography, Man Ray is on the left, (below). Henri Matisse's work, is on the right. He also worked in Paris at the same time, but is known for his drawings and paintings.

I love art! It expands my vision and creates new ways for me to see the world—with fresh eyes.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

In The Current

I am an artist and particularly notice patterns and textures of life. I can feel blessed and happy even in poor, chaotic environments that would make someone else frustrated and angry. My eyes delight in discolored and cracking walls with paint splatters and drips, graffiti, derelict doorways, shadows and stark light, crowded busses and trains—all hold fascination for me. 

The streets are alive with the activities of man and I jump in the current, taking my photos, making paintings and drawings and constantly being inspired.  

When I arrived in Quito, Ecuador from Mexico, I had to adjust to cloudy weather and very high elevation. Ecuador is home to some of the highest volcanoes and mountain peaks in the world. Quito, the capital, has an altitude of around 9,000 feet, (3,000m). My first experiences were gritty and I was a bit dismayed. But probably tired from travel and needing to adjust. As I dug deeper, more gems appeared from the rough. The historical center is captivating with centuries old architecture, massive basilicas and cobbled streets crammed with shops. I melded in and took street photos. 

A man at Catholic mass, listening to singing.
A great museum experience was Capilla del Hombre (Chapel of Man), devoted to the work one artist: Oswaldo Guayasamin,  (July 6, 1919 – March 10, 1999). master painter and sculptor of Quechua and Mestizo heritage and Native of Quito. 

I did not paint while in Quito for I was in a hotel room and stayed five days. Now I am in Cuenca and will be in the south of Ecuador for about two weeks so will resume painting. Need to find an art supply store first!

See Steven Boone art

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Circle

Street photo, Madrid, spain
The longer I live, the more often experiences come that make a circle in my life. For instance, I happened to be on YouTube the other day, and arrived at a video of Jim Morrison (December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971) and The Doors. Somebody had commented that Morrison had taken inspiration from the poet Arthur Rimbaud (French, 20 October 1854 – 10 November 1891). I have always liked Rimbaud, who remarkably made his work before the age of 21 and then quit writing. I did a Google search and found a movie about him called “Total Eclipse” a 1995 film directed by Agnieszka Holland and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. I watched the whole film, and this brought me to my memories from twenty years ago, when I read a biography of Rimbaud. So, a circle was created from my interest in The Doors, the influence upon Jim Morrison of the French poet, back to my original reading of poems by Rimbaud and his biography, and then the closure of watching the movie depicting Rimbaud's meteoric rise and tragic end.

In the film, Rimbaud says to his fellow poet Paul Verlaine, “I understood that I was to experience everything in my body—it was no longer enough for me to be one person. I decided to be everyone . . . I decided to be a genius . . . I decided to originate the future.”

Street photo, Florence, Italy

I relate to the notion of finding oneself by losing oneself and becoming “everyone”. This is something that happens when I go into the “zone” and lose my self in the streets of the world photographing people. The photos become my poems.

In the blue summer evenings, I will go along the paths,
And walk over the short grass, as I am pricked by the wheat:
Daydreaming I will feel the coolness on my feet.
I will let the wind bathe my bare head.
I will not speak, I will have no thoughts:
But infinite love will mount in my soul;
And I will go far, far off, like a gypsy,
Through the country side-joyous as if I were with a woman.
-A. Rimbaud

Street photo, Barcelona, Spain
To see more photos: Artistic Photography by Steven Boone

Sunday, March 10, 2013


A bedouin on his camel. at the Great Pyramids of Egypt.
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller (American, December 26, 1891 – June 7, 1980)

In some profound ways, I have not adjusted to the ending of my year of travel, in 2008. Then, I was single, unencumbered by material things, free to move in any direction, was full of wanderlust, and leisurely moved across the face of the earth, living in exotic and fascinating places, making new friends and acquaintances. Since I arrived back in the USA, I have not felt the urge to own a home or settle down in any fundamental way, even though I have married. My lovely wife owns a home and I also rent a separate home, studio, and art gallery—but I am not attached to any of these places. Since 2008, I have been to Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and lastly, with my wife, Morocco. Now, I wonder if my dancing vagabond days are over for me.

During the early days of my traveling, I carried two suitcases—one for clothing, laptop, camera and supplies, and one for my painting gear, i.e. paints and easel, canvas and brushes. I made paintings along the way, occasionally sending them back to my assistant in the US and my gallery. Midway through the journey, I sent the cumbersome painting suitcase home, since I had evolved into a passionate street photographer. Each day, camera in hand, I would saunter forth to find the unexpected and seek to capture ephemeral moments of sublimity.

A field of poppies amid olive trees, in the Puglia region of Italy

The task of landscape painting is different than photography. To paint, a subject must be found, and then the easel set up and as the day goes by and the sun moves across the sky, I stand in one spot, studying and recording until a finished work is completed. For example, see: Flux Of The Street.
Photography is simply having the camera at hand, with a heightened sense of awareness, ready to click the shutter at an opportune time . . . and then go forth again for more. For example, see: Ducking.

Chicken seller in a market in Hoi An, Vietnam

Generally, paintings are far more valuable on the market, since they are made entirely by the artist’s hand are unique, whereas photos become prints that are massed produced.

 “To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark (born 31 January 1893 in Paris, France; died 9 May 1993 in Asolo, Italy)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Worth A Thousand Words

My ritual of writing a blog every week has resulted in 350 posts to date. Once the cadence established itself, remarkably it took on a life of its own, so that the postings have occurred even from the far corners of the planet.

Usually, a story or theme presents itself during the week prior to my Sunday posting, but occasionally, Sunday arrives and I am at a loss to write anything. Fortunately, life is like a kaleidoscope, and with a little twist, fantastic shapes and colors arrive that offer new patterns for viewing.

I once took a poetry workshop from Arthur Sze, a poet laureate of the city of Santa Fe, where I live. It so happened that he collected poignant pictures, clipped from magazines and newspapers, and he used these images to provoke his imagination in new ways. I think that this is the power of images, for it is said, “One picture is worth a thousand words.”

The picture I include today is worth at least a thousand words.

While I was out photographing on the streets of Madrid, Spain, one summer day, I came to a bustling plaza, and as I wandered, I heard the jangling of coins in a cup. A man with no arms stood gripping a canister by his teeth and wagged his head to and fro, shaking coins to make them clink together. This was all he could do . . . his handicap was great. I felt pity, and wondered at his existence in such a state.

Later, I was on a street nearby, walking slowly, when I came upon the same man, seated on a curb, smoking a cigarette. Next to him on the pavement was a man with no legs. I stopped in my tracks in front of them. The man with no legs had lit the cigarette for his friend and put it in his mouth. I motioned to take their picture and they both grinned.

This photograph is worth a thousand words.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Zone

In "the zone" on a street in Madrid, Spain

In 2008, while I was traveling solo around the world for one year, about three months into the journey, I shifted away from painting as my main focus of art, and became a photographer of the street life that surrounded me everywhere. I developed a pattern of walking through the cities, keenly aware of my surroundings, and as I looked, I would go into what I called “the zone.” Thus, I became one with my surroundings. An ephemeral vapor with eyes. I sought to capture with my camera the unusual and unexpected confluences of life.

Fashion meets the street.
For example, in the picture above, I found a large panel of reflective red glass bordering a narrow walkway near my apartment in the downtown area of Madrid. I stationed myself there and simply snapped pictures of people passing by, framed by the red expanse, and also, sometimes my reflection was in the picture too.

I am sharing some pictures I took in Madrid, Spain, since it was exactly this time in June I was there.

For more artistic photographs, see my photo website: Graphixshoot

She is always standing outside of the bar, holding a gun in  her hand.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Spills and Thrills

A good fairy-tale has spills and thrills, twists and turns, darkness and light, a bit of fear, salvation, and lessons. My sojourn in Europe has taken me unexpected places and on a course I had not planned. I have made friends and also have been alone for long periods. I developed a new series of paintings and also my street photography. This evening, I travel to Africa. The primeval in me looks forward to a safari, wide-open spaces, wildness and viewing exotic animals in their native habitat. Also, I will experience the streets of modern Africa.
Before leaving European civilization, since I am in Rome, I visited the Villa Borghese to see the priceless collection of sculptures and paintings. I remember their effect from previous visits in years past. Especially, the life-sized marble sculptures of Gian Lorenzo Bernini take my breath away and I find I can’t take my eyes off them. They are so heavenly, I wonder how they could have come from a man, but rather, must have been crafted by a divine hand.
Just the other day, Luca asked me about low points in my journey and I could not think of any to speak of. Well, I just now have a low point. I missed my flight to Africa and have had to book another. I had it in my mind that I was leaving around midnight tonight when in fact the plane departed at 12:55 AM this morning. I feel stupid for this expensive mistake. Time references are in 24 hour increments in Europe, so they do not use AM or PM. Anyway, I am now going to Nairobi, Kenya instead of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, and will stay there, since my safari begins and ends in Nairobi. Before, I was going to meet up with the safari in Arusha, Tanzania. A crazy twist, and I try to see it as a little darkness in my fairy-tale . . . nothing more.
This week, I updated my artistic photography website,, so have a look. It has the best of my around-the-world photos, and they are not typical tourist snapshots.
Next week I will be on safari, so will have to catch up on the blog when I can.